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The evolution of virtual reality

Photo by Paul Bence on Unsplash

Virtual reality, as we know it today, is a recent phenomenon, barely a few years old. The idea of virtual reality that we have today is to strap on a headset and be immersed in a new world as though we are physically in it.

This allows for billions of possibilities for how these worlds that we experience through the headset can be created. We could have the same real world experiences remodeled or we can have completely new and imagined worlds to experience. The technology makes it so easy to simulate.

While this form of virtual reality is recent and new and exciting, virtual reality has gone through multiple iterations before this.

The very first iteration was the invention of language. When we first learnt how to speak and how to write, we found a new way of experiencing the world without physically being present somewhere to witness what happened. We could experience what someone's day was like by hearing them describe it to us. We could experience someone else's life entirely by reading what they had written. We could experience completely new and imagined worlds through stories.

The next iteration was paintings and photography - capturing a moment in time forever. Again, here we could experience things without physically being present where it happened.

Then there was the recording and replay of audio. This enabled us to hear things without physically being within earshot of what was being said. This enabled us to speak to someone half way across the world as though they were right next to us.

Then there was video and animation.

All these are ancestors to the virtual reality that we know today. All these are virtual reality experiences in the true sense of the word.

We are getting closer and closer to recreating wholesome experiences to titillate all our senses without us having to physically be at any given place.

The reason virtual reality excites me is not because it is the next cool thing that can replace the smartphone or the personal computer. It excites me because it is a fundamental shift in recreating our world for us to experience from anywhere, anytime.

It excites me because it is as important an invention as that of language and the written word. 

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